President-elect Muhammadu Buhari says his administration would welcome the resumption of a military training agreement with the United States as part of efforts to end Boko Haram insurgency in the country.
The training agreement had been halted by the administration of President Goodluckk Jonathan when it could not meet its part of the deal.
The agreement required Nigeria to provide equipment to be used for the training, while the USA would provide world class military personnel to train one battalion of the Nigerian Army to international standards to combat terrorism.
While the US provide the personnel, the Nigerian government could not provide the equipment, forcing the deal to end.
However, in an opinion piece by incoming president, Buhari, his government would ensure the training resumes. He added that the country must also have better coordination with the military campaigns its African allies, like Chad and Niger, are waging in the struggle against Boko Haram. “But, in the end, the answer to this threat must come from within Nigeria.”
Deploy more troops
“We must start by deploying more troops to the front and away from civilian areas in central and southern Nigeria where for too long they have been used by successive governments to quell dissent.
We must work closer with our neighbors in coordinating our military efforts so an offensive by one army does not see their country’s lands rid of Boko Haram only to push it across the border onto their neighbors’ territory,” Buhari wrote.
While this is done, he raises another fundamental thing that the country needs to do to counter the terrorists. “We must address why it is that young people join Boko Haram.”
“There are many reasons why vulnerable young people join militant groups, but among them are poverty and ignorance.
Indeed Boko Haram — which translates in English, roughly, as “Western Education Is Sinful” — preys on the perverted belief that the opportunities that education brings are sinful.
If you are starving and young, and in search of answers as to why your life is so difficult, fundamentalism can be alluring. We know this for a fact because former members of Boko Haram have admitted it: They offer impressionable young people money and the promise of food, while the group’s mentors twist their minds with fanaticism.
Educate more young girls
“So we must be ready to offer the parts of our country affected by this group an alternative.
Boosting education will be a direct counterbalance to Boko Haram’s appeal.
In particular we must educate more young girls, ensuring they will grow up to be empowered through learning to play their full part as citizens of Nigeria and pull themselves up and out of poverty.
Indeed, we owe it to the schoolgirls of Chibok to provide as best an education as possible for their fellow young citizens.
“Boko Haram feeds off despair. It feeds off a lack of hope that things can improve. By attacking a site of learning, and kidnapping more than 200 schoolgirls, it sought to strike at the very place where hope for the future is nurtured, and the promise of a better Nigeria. It is our intention to show Boko Haram that it will not succeed.
“My government will first act to defeat it militarily and then ensure that we provide the very education it despises to help our people help themselves.
Boko Haram will soon learn that, as Nelson Mandela said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”